With toy-making being such a popular usage for 3D printers, it was only a matter of time before some bright spark opened an online home for printable playthings. This week, ToyFabb.com has launched on the web. The brainchild of Jochen Hanselmann and Alex Schmid, the Swiss-based platform offers designers the chance to flaunt their wares and customers the chance to print them.
The process is simple. Toy designers can register an account for free with the site before uploading their creations in an easy-to-follow, intuitive interface. The consumer can log on, browse the designs and buy them from the site. The designer is in total control of how people interact with their pieces, ensuring copyright is protected at all times. They can either offer the customer a one-off G-code secure stream straight to their printers or an STL file of the toy.
The customer gets plenty of flexibility too. They can either print the model themselves on their own device or order them for printing though a service like Shapeways.
As ToyFabb explains on its website:
We are convinced that the digital production and 3D printing technologies will contribute significantly to a new generation of toys more fitted to the consumer and, in general, safer and more creative. It will contribute to the reduction of our carbon footprint by producing toys only on demand and locally on any 3D printer nearby.
ToyFabb has also launched a contest for 3D designers of every level of experience and working in every area of the field. It will be accepting entries until the end of September, when it will pick winners across a range of categories. The idea is to help 3D artists and designers that have not yet made their names in the industry gain wider attention.
As Hanselmann puts it:
We wanted to build a platform for all the designers who are widely ignored by the industry with their exceptional creations. We think that there is a huge potential out there. And 3D printing is the ideal technology to free up this potential.